During my drinking career I knew that my mind had a terribly hard time recalling past alcoholic episodes. My mind would always tell me that I could take that first drink. But it never remembered the countless drinks I had to have after the first. It never remembered the hell to pay the next morning. It never remembered the horrible fight with my wife, who wanted to leave the bar hours before, but I didn't.
In the depths of a bender, or in my suffering the morning after, it was always easy to remember. Racked with guilt and shame, the morning after a binge my mind would flood with memories of terrbile things that had happened the night before, or in previous drunks.
"Remember how this feels," I would tell myself.
Despite my best attempts to mentally catalog my episodes, it never worked. Once I sobered up and recovered from my hangover, no matter how brutal, my mind would always reset. When the next drink beckoned, my mind could never sufficiently recall past guilt, shame, and despair. The next drink was all that mattered.
Now in recovery, I've learned I simply cannot trust what goes on between my ears. My thoughts and feelings have proven to be the most unreliable resources I have. I can no longer rely on them to guide my path.
When I entered recovery I had no path. I was lost and desperate. I was headed down, and in a hurry. But I saw other fellow alcoholics in recovery who seemed headed in the right direction. So with pride fully deflated, I sought their help and followed their lead. Small step after small step, following the process they suggested, my obsession to drink began to dissipate. I didn't understand exactly how. I racked my brain. It didn't make sense in my mind.
But soon I realized that how I had come to find this path didn't really matter. I was sober for crying out loud! Who cares! I was beginning to see colors and light again. For the first time in the longest time I was headed in the right direction. I had ahold of something by the tail that I could follow.
I had learned to trust in something that I couldn't see, touch, feel, or explain. I didn't know it at the time, but the first seeds of a new faith had been planted. I no longer had to follow the deceptive thoughts and feelings in my mind. The astonishing results of this process earned my fidelity and trust. I was headed down a new path, one of recovery and hope.